Government legalizes spying on Zim citizens

via Government legalizes spying on Zim citizens | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda October 1, 2013

A government spy program will now monitor phone calls, text, email and the details will be kept in a national database for use on demand by the state security agencies.

Under a new government regulation gazetted last week Friday, authorities will order broadband providers, landline and mobile phone companies to save the information for up to five years. This is under a security scheme contained in the new constitution that seeks to safeguard national security.

According to the Statutory Instrument 142 of 2013 details about text messages, phone calls, emails and every website visited by members of the public will be kept on record, in a bid to combat crime.

ICT expert Robert Ndlovu told SW Radio Africa that under the terms of the legislation, agreed to by parties that drafted the new charter, the content of such communications would be stored but theoretically inaccessible, unless there was a warrant issued by a senior police officer or judicial officer. Ndlovu added that the information will be stored by individual companies rather than the government.

The same law now prohibits telecommunications companies from activating SIM cards that are not fully registered. Providing false information upon registering a SIM card, such as regarding one’s residential address, is now an offence.

All mobile phone users with unregistered SIM cards have been given a 30-day ultimatum starting next Tuesday to register them, while those registered, whose addresses have changed, are expected to notify their service providers within 21 days.

Unsurprisingly, privacy campaigners are up in arms about the plan which many fear will be abused by ZANU PF for political purposes. There have been cases where the CIO has snooped on Robert Mugabe’s political opponents, such as former Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Morgan Tsvangirai.

‘Every country in the world that I know of has similar laws but the motives of such regulations are open to debate. In the USA and European countries, they use the law to fight terrorism.

‘In Zimbabwe it could be that they want to use it to fight poaching, where poachers have killed over 90 elephants using cyanide. But we all know they have been illegally snooping on their political opponents, so blanket collection, without suspicion becomes problematic to privacy activists,’ Ndlovu said.



  • comment-avatar

    …the question that I have is what kind of crime do we want to fight with this measure…unless if their are already targets whose conversations are about to be spied upon in the name of fighting crime…

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    Tjingababili 9 years ago


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    zondi 9 years ago

    This is not news as the law is not new at all. There are a number of incidents when law-enforcement agents could get a recorded conversation from mobile or fixed phone operators for prosecution of offenders. Take the case of Muchauraya vs Nyarota.

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      gorongoza 9 years ago

      It is new because if it wasnt why would they need to enact such a bill in 2013? previously, they could only do it for criminal investigation procedures. Now they do it for political reasons and for fun as well incl intercepting your pictures, videos, conversations with friends, relatives, party cadres, girlfreinds, boyfriends etc! They are scared! they think pple are going the Egypt way….but we are not! They “won”, didnt they? we are only the ruled, and we are ruled with an iron fist! what really can we do…in any case its us who voted for why are they so scared of us the ones who voted for them, their simple subjects with no brains?

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    Africanson 9 years ago

    A very useful tool to deal with sell outs. Real Zimbabweans are not worried. Its only those who make money and popularity by selling out secretes of zim who should cry foul.

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    The problem is exactly that Africason you are insisting to use this power of snooping/spying for your own personal use rather than for the greater good. Sort of like the police/Legal system etc. Sad but typical.

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    gorongoza 9 years ago

    This govt must be really scared of its citizens! Are they telling us something? They dont want pple to discuss NIKUV, i am sure. Running kinda scared? Did they really win?

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    zimbo 9 years ago

    now you are justifing America for spying on its citizens and on embasies…..this has been happening for long time now that Zimbabwe has made it public its a Zanu PF thing comeon guys…………think outside the box

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    Doppel 9 years ago

    What a good development indeed, do not blame Zanu Pf all political parties agreed on this move during the Constitution-making process. Let the gvt pass it. Let our national security be tightened. If MDCs won they were going to pass such laws.

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      adam jones 9 years ago

      yes the MDC won the election. zanu then rigged the result. that is why they need to enact such cowardly laws. if 61+% of zimbabweans love and freely votted for zanu, why would they need to snoop on their own supporters?

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    Fungai ...ngwazi 9 years ago

    Everything the government does you say its bad and it is a Zanu Pf thing against the opposition. Which thing is the government going to do which you will ever appreciate. Remember this is a sovereign and legitimate government.

    You people must refrain from political minds. Well done Robert Ndlove together with the state’s intelligency for passing this law, it is an excellent development.

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    Mabasa 9 years ago

    Whosoever digeth a pit shall fall in it!!! Zanu PF will regrete these laws if they ever go into opposition. Zimbo check your facts well the US govt has been denied several requests by Facebook and others. Could anyone resist Zanu PF after this bill? By the way do we justify an assault on liberties simply because the US has done?

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    sithobekilezimbabwevirgil 9 years ago

    a country with no rights and freedom is no country at all. people living in fear being totured everyday and now with no privacy!